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Timberwolves
After failing to break out of their road funk despite Tony
Parker's heroics, the San Antonio Spurs look to continue their
dominance at home.
The Spurs appear primed to get back in the win column and
capture their 12th straight home victory Sunday night when they
meet the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves.
San Antonio has won 15 straight home games in the series by an
average of 12.9 points and haven't lost to a visiting Minnesota
team since the Kevin Garnett era in 2003-04.
While they've dropped seven of nine on the road following a
101-98 overtime loss at Memphis on Friday night, the Spurs are
riding their longest home winning streak since a franchise-record,
22-game run Dec. 3, 2010-March 4, 2011. Sunday's game is the first
of three straight and seven of 10 at home.
San Antonio (28-11) has scored 112.0 points per game in its last
six at home, compared to 88.3 in regulation during its three-game
losing streak on the road.
Parker did all he could to help the team avoid another road
defeat Friday when he scored 30 points and made a 27-footer [url=http://www.palmexpo.in/cheapnikeshoes.aspx]cheap nike shoes for sale[/url] at the
buzzer to send the game into overtime. He also opened the extra
period with a 3, but the Spurs missed their final nine shot
attempts.
"That was an incredible shot by Tony to give us a chance to stay
in the game and get five more minutes to figure it out," forward
Tim Duncan said.
Duncan is trying to figure things out, having shot 34.1 percent
from the field over the past three games while averaging 11.3
points and 4.7 turnovers.
"It's just like a hitter who doesn't hit for a while," coach
Gregg Popovich said of Duncan's struggles. "What are you going to
do? You just keep shooting. He keeps playing hard whether a shot
goes in or out."
The Spurs hope to stay effective from 3-point range after
shooting 22 for 50 (44.0 percent) in their last two games. They had
hit 28.8 percent in their previous three.
San Antonio should be able to find good looks against a
Minnesota team that has allowed its last four opponents to shoot
51.1 percent from 3-point range.
After a promising 7-2 stretch which extended into mid-December,
the Timberwolves (16-17) have dropped eight of 12. That slump
includes a 1-6 mark on the road.
They fell to 0-2 on a four-game road trip Friday, getting
outscored by 24 points in the second and third quarters in a 104-92
loss at New Orleans.
Minnesota has been without coach Rick Adelman, as well as star
forward Kevin Love (hand) and key reserves J.J. Barea (back) and
Chase Budinger (knee).
Ricky Rubio has averaged 3.5 points and shot 6 for 27 (22.2
percent) from the field in eight games since returning from knee
surgery.
"Until we start getting some guys back, this is what we have and
everybody has to do a little bit more," said assistant Terry
Porter, who has served as coach the past three games.
It's unclear when Adelman will return. He's been home with his
wife, who was recently hospitalized.
Center Nikola Pekovic has given the team a lift, averaging 20.3
points on 59.6 percent shooting and 12.3 rebounds over his last
four games.
Minnesota, though, has shot 26.0 percent from beyond the arc in
its last seven road games and now faces a Spurs team which is among
the league's best in defensive 3-point percentage (32.5).
The Timberwolves won two of three against the Spurs last season
but lost the last one, 116-100 in San Antonio as Duncan had 21
points and 15 rebounds.